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O'Loughlin poised to return

28th of May 2014
O'Loughlin poised to return

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin is set to return for the champions' First Utility Super League trip to Huddersfield Giants.

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin is set to return for the champions' First Utility Super League trip to Huddersfield Giants on Thursday.

O'Loughlin has endured an injury-hit past year and has made just five Super League appearances this season, with a groin problem the reason for his latest lay-off.

The Warriors have performed impressively without him and a host of other injured senior players, most notably in beating Salford Red D

evils with a side carrying an average age of 21 last week.

But coach Shaun Wane, who has had no qualms in putting his faith in the club's youngsters, is pleased to welcome back 31-year-old O'Loughlin nevertheless.

Wane said: "It is an horrendous injury run we have had and it is still carrying on, but we have got our captain back. That's a big one.

"We have played really well without him but he is our leader, our captain.

"He gives us something and it gives everyone a real lift going into another difficult game.

"It has been frustrating for him - he wants to be playing every game and training every session.

"It has been niggly injuries but he is back with us now and has trained well. I think we will see him perform."

O'Loughlin's return could be the only major change from the side that won 25-4 at Salford.

Wane had hoped the likes of Eddy Pettybourne, Matty Bowen and Liam Farrell could return but the game looks like coming too early for them.

Ben Flower and Blake Green are also on the sidelines and have been joined by hooker Michael McIlorum. Wigner Dan Sarginson could return for next week's Tetley's Challenge Cup quarter-final against Castleford Tigers.

Wigan head to Huddersfield on the back of three straight wins and could move up to second with victory over last year's League Leaders' Shield winners.

The Giants have slipped from the lofty standards they set in 2013 but had won five in succession before losing 41-22 with an underwhelming performance at St Helens last week.

Wane said: "There is a bit of that second-season syndrome but they are still a good team.

"I watched the St Helens game and they still threw it about a bit.

"St Helens had a bit of luck as well and I don't think the score reflected the game.

"They have still got some really good players and they can turn it on at any one time.

"They will be hurting after that performance but I imagine Paul Anderson will get into them.

"It is going to be a hectic start to the game but we will be ready for them.

"We have trained well this week and are expecting a good performance."

Giants coach Anderson did not hold back in his criticisms after a performance at Saints that has left them sixth in the table, seven points behind leaders Leeds Rhinos.

Anderson has threatened to make changes and is demanding improvement.

He said: "We have been really honest. We were poor and we have got to look to respond. We were shocking and have got to get better.

"We came up against a team that was very committed and energetic and we weren't.

"I feel we have got to be aggressive, energetic and nasty in a lot of things we do, rather than nice.

"That is what we have to be and our team will reflect that."

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